Monadnock Trails

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Monadnock Vegetation

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Tags: Monadnock Mountain, Sheep Laurel Heath Krummholz, Monadnock Vegetation, Mount Monadnock, New Hampshire vegetation, Monadnock Trails, New Hampshire Hiking, Jaffrey, NH

Search: Monadnock Vegetation and Vegetation Communities



Black Chokeberry blossoms Monadnock NH
Above: Black Chokeberry blossoming in early June on Monadnock

Sheep Laurel- Heath-Krummholz

The Sheep Laurel-Heath-Krummholz vegetation community on Mount Monadnock covers a narrow band of the mountain primarily at 3000 feet, ranging down to 2900 feet and are subalpine rocky bald communities. This zone on Mount Monadnock is in pocket communities amongst the barren ledges that have flowers such as Mountain Sandwort springing out of the cracks in the rock. Limited protected areas above 3000 feet contain pockets of shrubs that would be considered characteristic of Sheep Laurel-Labrador Tea Heath-Krummholz community.  On Monadnock Labrador Tea is rare so Sheep Laurel- Heath Krummholz is a more accurate description of this vegetation community on Monadnock. This community is more extensive on west facing exposures. It transitions above into the subalpine rocky bald community and below to the red spruce-heath-cinquefoil rocky ridge community and exhibits a high amount of interspersion with both communities throughout its elevational range. In some pockets, interspersed with the open ledges and bushes, are dense short (about 6 ft in height) thickets of spruce, krummholz mixed with birch and mountain ash saplings particularly on the north side of the mountain.

This vegetation community may be known as the Sheep Laurel-Labrador Tea Heath-Krummholz and is fitting for the natural community type (Mallard 2008).  Sheep Laurel is common and Labrador Tea is uncommon on Mount Monadnock (Monadnock Guides: 1970, 2011).  So, more appropriately the vegetation community type is referred to as Sheep Laurel-Heath-Krummholz in this site in order to accurately describe the vegetation community on Mount Monadnock.

Below: Sheep Laurel in bloom on Monte Rosa (June 18, 2013)

Sheep Laurel Monte Rosa Mount Monadnock

Krummholz is a German word meaning "crooked wood." At these higher elevations, wind and blowing snow prune branches so severely that an upright tree cannot gather sufficient mineral nutrients to offset losses. As a result, certain trees adopt a twisted, stunted life form allows these species to persist. Krummholz typically betrays the direction of prevailing winds with branches flagged in one direction. Heath - krummholz communities can occur as nearly pure dwarf shrublands, with shrubs barely ankle-high, but also as mixtures of up to 60% krummholz, where the heaths are closer to knee-high.

Some of the vegetation in the Sheep Laurel- Heath-Krummholz zone on Monadnock include; the stunted krummholz of this community which is made up of; red spruce (Picea rubens), a very few balsam fir (Abies balsamia), American mountain ash (Pyrus Americana), heartleaf birch (Betula cordifolia) trees. Common heath plants (members of the heath family) in this community include sheep laurel (Kalmia angustifolia), low sweet blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium), mountain cranberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea), Black Chokeberry (Pyrus melanocarpa (Michx.)), and rhodora (Rhododendron canadense). Common hairgrass (Deschampsia flexuosa) Mountain Holly (Nemopanthus mucronata) and Meadowsweet (spiraea latifolia) are common. Labrador tea is uncommon (Ledum groenlandicum) and Three-toothed cinquefoil (Sibbaldiopsis tridentata) are scattered. Lichens are common on frequent exposures of ledge outcrop, boulders, stone, or gravel.  Cotton sedge (Eriophorum vaginatum var. spissum) is commonly found in wet boggy spots.

Below: Sheep Laurel-Heath-Krummholz
along Pumpelly Trail

Monadnock Pumpelly Trail Sheep Laurel Labrador Tea Heath Krummholz

The pages on the vegetation communities launched this spring has been revised and updated as of August 2011 to more accurately describe Mount Monadnock's unique vegetation.
Fred Pitcher has had 1325+ varied hikes of Mount Monadnock and has spent years researching Monadnock.  All images by Fred Pitcher
"Monadnock Guide", Henry I. Baldwin, ©1970, 1rst edition, published by SPNHF
researched online sources such as "Wikipedia", "Google Images"
"National Audubon Society Field Guide to New England", by Peter Alden and Brian Cassie, 1998 edition, 2005 printing
"A.M.C. Field Guide to the New England Alpine Summits", by Nancy G. Slack and Allison W. Bell, distributed by Globe Pequot Press ©1995
"The Description and Distribution of Natural Communities on Mount Monadnock, NH: Implication in the Face of Climate Change". MS thesis. Antioch University New England, Keene, NH. by David Mallard, 2008
"North Woods, An Inside Look at the Nature of Forests in the Northeast", by Peter J. Marchand, ©1987, distributed by Globe Pequot Press
"New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands/about forests and lands" website

Below: Low Sweet Blueberries in mid summer on Mount Monadnock

Low Sweet Blueberries

Search: Monadnock Vegetation and Vegetation Communities




Monadnock Trails website: Author, Creator, and photos by Frederick Pitcher 2015
Use of the information on this site is the sole risk of the user.  The author is not responsible for the trails or anyone's ability to follow them.  In addition to the trails there are certain places in this website described that are off trail.  Anyone exploring Monadnock does so at their own risk.


Tags: Monadnock Mountain, Sheep Laurel Heath Krummholz, Monadnock Trails, Monadnock Vegetation, Mount Monadnock, New Hampshire Vegetation, Monadnock Trails, New Hampshire Hiking, Jaffrey, NH

Jaffrey Weather Forecast, NH

The weather above is for the base of the mountain.